I finally did it. Like a dreaded homework assignment I’d been putting off, I finally watched The Help. Although I feel like that title is misleading, as though the movie is actually about the help. I feel like White Girl Utopia might have been a better title. Perhaps Miss Skeeter All Growed Up. Or even something a bit more poetic like I Dreamed of Jackson. Dreamed seems appropriate. A hallucination, a fabrication. You know how you wake up and tell people you had the strangest dream and in it you baked a sh*t pie for a white woman in 1960s Mississippi and somehow didn’t end up dead in a ditch?
But I digress, because although I struggled factually with the movie, it’s fine because it’s not like anyone watches this movie and imagines they’ve gotten an accurate history lesson, right? I mean no one uses pop culture as a substitution for facts. Right? I see now the fault was mine because I thought that a movie featuring black women’s stories would have actually focused on the black women. Or did I miss what happened to Abilene’s husband or any family other than her son in the midst of Skeeter getting her hair done? I hate when I miss character development because I start thinking about how cu-ute someone’s hair is! Gee, that dress sure is pretty Miss Hilly. Wait, did the first act of violence in the movie come at the hands of a black husband towards his black wife? And then the only other act of violence on screen come from the police legitimately arresting a woman who had stolen? Well, that’s certainly the only violence I remember reading about in the Jim Crow South. Fiddle-dee-dee Miss Scarlett. Who cares about all that if we can one day sit down at the table of Brotherly Love, soothe white guilt, and eat some fried chicken?
Thurgood Marshall once said: “I’m so tired of trying to save white folks’ souls.” I have a feeling Hollywood’s never heard that one before.